Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) released the following statement after the announcement earlier this week of a settlement between the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Goodrich Corporation that will result in a comprehensive cleanup of B.F. Goodrich Superfund Site in Rialto, California, that could total as much as $100 million.
"Our communities have been struggling for a decade to get this serious problem fixed, so I am pleased that this settlement has been reached," stated Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod. "Although this settlement is a step in the right direction, we must keep in mind that it still does not address the similar ground water issue facing neighboring communities such as Fontana."
According to the US EPA, from about 1957 to 1962, Goodrich conducted research, development, testing, and production of solid-fuel rocket propellant in Rialto. Operations at the site by Goodrich and others have contaminated soil and groundwater with trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchlorate. TCE is an industrial cleaning solvent that, when ingested in high levels, may cause damage to the nervous system, liver and lungs. Both chemicals are known to disrupt the thyroid's ability to produce hormones needed for normal growth and development. Traces of these chemicals in ground water are also prevalent throughout the inland empire.
Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod was actively involved in the groundwater contamination cleanup in the area while serving in the state legislature. As former Chair of the California State Senate Select Committee on Ground Water and Perchlorate Contamination, she called for a swift litigation process and encouraged local officials to hold polluters accountable for groundwater contamination in the area.
"This settlement could not have been possible without the combined efforts of local, state, and federal agencies," explained Congresswoman Negrete McLeod. "Yet, more work remains to be done. I intend to hold a series of round table discussions and meetings in the district in the coming months to determine how the EPA will monitor this site, how ratepayers will be compensated, and what else we can do for the other communities that have yet to receive federal assistance."
Once a cleanup plan is selected, Goodrich, under a judicial consent decree, must design, build, and operate, under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) oversight, any cleanup facilities selected by the agency in its cleanup plan to address groundwater and soil contamination in central and south Rialto. The company is also responsible, with contributions from the Department of Defense and certain settlement proceeds from other responsible parties, for ensuring the completion of the cleanup work which could last for the next 30 years or more, no matter what the costs.
Congresswoman Negrete McLeod represents the 35th Congressional District encompassing portions of Rialto and Fontana.